With a style of playing influenced by such diverse musicians as Wes Montgomery, Pat Metheny, Jim Hall, Pat Martino, John McLaughlin, Eric Clapton, Gene Bertoncini, Steve Khan, Mike Stern and others, LA based guitarist and composer Tom Rizzo plays music from Gregorian Chant to BeBop, as well as pop, funk, folk, and world music. Originally a member of Doc Severinsen’s fusion group Xebron, Tom was also a regular member of the Tonight Show Band, and he composed much of the music heard on the show during his tenure.
His first album as a leader, “A Secret Garden,” features Peter Erskine, Bob Sheppard and Dave Carpenter. The second album, “Guitar Plus Eight,” features Joe LaBarbera, Tom Warrington, Bob Sheppard, and Rich Eames, plus a “Birth of the Cool” horn section consisting of Tuba, French Horn, Trombone, Trumpet, and Soprano Sax, arranged by long time collaborator Nick Lane. The resulting juxtaposition of the guitar with this instrumentation makes for a very unique and modern recording.
Tom has also recorded three albums with Maynard Ferguson, two with Doc Severinsen and the Tonight Show Band, and one with Doc and Xebron, which he also produced and composed the music for. His latest quintet features Tom Brechtlien on drums, Jason Flatley on piano, Scott Breadman on percussion, and Sam Minaie on bass. Tom writes the group’s material and the band performs regulalry around the Los Angeles area and frequently features artists such as Pete Chritslieb and Steve Huffsteter.
Of the group, Tom says: “The band is very strong, and it gets stronger every time we play. We find ourselves evolving into uncharted territory that has its basis in bebop, but is beginning to incorporate elements of other types of music that we love. We listen to people like Miles, Scofield, Larry Goldings, Wes Montgomery, Joe Lovano, Pat Metheny, Brad Mehldau, Chick Corea, John Abercrombie, Gary Burton, Peter Bernstein, and the Beatles. All of these influences come out in the playing and the writing. We like to think we pay attention to the past and to the future.”
The band also plays fresh treatments of tunes by Cole Porter, Jerome Kern, Kenny Barron, Bill Evans, Joe Zawinul, Benny Golson, Thelonious Monk, Ornette Coleman, and others, plus many original compositions.